All of us, at one point or another, have driven to work, school or even home and realized when we got there that we really didn't know how we did it. In other words, we do it so often that it's second-nature. It's rote. We do it without even thinking about it. We made that drive with the autopilot on.
It's not so bad. We travel that route over and over again. It's natural that we stop thinking about it.
What about autopilot for our lives? We get up, we get dressed, we go to work, we come home, we eat, we watch TV or get on the computer, we go to bed. We travel that route over and over again. Of course, it's natural that we stop thinking about it… only it's not.
Kids grow up quickly. We seem to age overnight. If we aren't careful, we'll blink and realize that years have gone by and we barely even noticed it. Relationships come and often they go with the good times becoming faint memories and the bad times remaining vivid and strong. Life happens whether we are watching it or not, whether we are ready or not. We don't have the luxury of autopilot. We need to be present and focused every day. We must live every day … and live it fully.
One of the security guards at my job died over the weekend. I will miss her terribly. Hers is the first face I remember even before I started her a year and a half ago. She greeted me with a smile on both of my interviews. When I came in early to take my badge photo, she made me laugh, and that is why I'm smiling so broadly on my photo. She was at that front desk every day until Christmas. None of us knew how sick she was until the very end.
I'm sure just about everyone in a building of over 600 people has a Barbara story. I have tons. She was a woman who had an infectious laugh and a quick sense of humor. She remembered faces and names and had a kind word for everyone. She didn't live on autopilot. She was present every day, experiencing life in its fullness and touching lives everywhere she went. We should all be so lucky.